Hiking is a great physical activity. You get to experience a good workout, relax and enjoy nature all at once. However, some careless behavior during your ascent can cause or worsen back pain. Here are some tips to help you avoid back pain on the trail:
Don't carry too much in your pack
When you're hiking, you have to keep all your essentials on you. However, carrying too much weight in your backpack can strain your back and lead to discomfort. Pare down on what you bring as much as you can. While you walk, be sure to keep your back straight to avoid any unnecessary pressure on your back.
"Avoid bending over at the waist, a tendency when you are walking fast or uphill," Teresa Schuemann, a physical therapist in Colorado and a spokesperson for the American Physical Therapy Association, told Prevention magazine. "Instead, keep your spine elongated and lean your whole body slightly forward from your ankles."
Wear the correct footwear
As most seasoned hikers can tell you, taking a trip without the proper footwear is a choice you'll regret – if not immediately, then eventually. Hiking boots are your best option, as they give you plenty of grip and support around your ankle. However, if you're going for a more casual hike, you might be able to get away with a pair of good running shoes.
Take breaks to drink water and stretch
It's also important to take plenty of breaks throughout your hike. This will give you a chance to stretch your muscles and rehydrate – two practices that will help keep the muscles around your spine from tensing up and causing pain.
If you're suffering back pain after a hiking trip, schedule an appointment with a professional chiropractor today.